Lacuna Coil for Kerrang Magazine
My life can be a little strange at times. I have photographed one of the worlds biggest bands in a warehouse with flares and I have photographed ones of my current favourite bands in a cramped studio out in the middle of the woods…a shoot in which I was nearly an hour late because I could not find the studio! But this shoot might take the cake for my life being a little strange at times.
I arrived at the Kerrang offices in London knowing nothing more than that I was there to photograph another one of my favourite bands, Lacuna Coil. That was it. I didn’t know anything more than that heading into the shoot. Now, doing a shoot at the Kerrang offices was not something new for me. I have done quite a few shoots in their offices including my first shoot there with Press To Meco. So, I knew what to expect from that standpoint. What I didn’t know was that the shoot was going to involve a massive raven. And by massive, I mean absolutely huge! I have never been in such close proximity to such a massive bird before! She was incredibly well behaved though for the shoot, but did make things really, really interesting for a lot of the shoot.
Once I was informed that we were going to be shooting with a massive raven on the shoot, I set about composing the image in my head and setting up the background and lighting. I knew, in my head, exactly what I wanted the image to look like now, but how was I going to make this work? I knew that I was only photographing Cristina and Andrea from Lacuna Coil, and I knew I only had one raven, albeit one very massive raven, for the shoot. My finished image, in my mind, involved multiple ravens…but I knew I could make this work.
As I just finished up talking with the band about my ideas, the raven handler came in to tell us that the raven was ready. This slightly changed my plans as I wasn’t expecting the raven to be ready straight away. What I had wanted to do was get some photos of Andrea and Cristina on their own and together. This was to serve three purposes. One was to give me some “base” images that I could use if anything physically with the raven didn’t work. The second was that this would give me some “plain” images that Kerrang could use later for different features. The third, and in my mind most important, was this was going to be the warm up. Get me going, get them going, time for me to tweak lighting etc. But, with the raven being ready we had to just jump straight into the shoot!
So the idea I had for the finished image was to have either Andrea of Cristina holding the raven somewhere and then later I would put in some additional images of the raven flying and standing and walking. With the raven being ready to go, I decided to get some images of Andrea and Cristina and the raven first, then take some photos of the raven on it’s own so that I would have the images I needed later. I think we all under estimated the sheer size of the raven. Trying to pose either Cristina or Andrea with the raven took a lot of time. Never mind that the raven was pooping everywhere, or that the raven was VERY interested in whoever was holding her, her size meant that images of the raven on a shoulder were very hard to achieve and this was an image that I really, really wanted. In the end, a lot of patience and a little click toy helped me get the images that I wanted. The process, once we got into a rhythm, was pretty straight forward. The raven was a little excited at the start of the shoot but soon calmed down, and this allowed me to not only pose Andrea and Cristina how I wanted them, but also the raven. Trying to get a raven to look at the camera is as difficult as you think it is!
After some images together with the raven, we did a few individual shots with the raven and then it was the raven’s turn to shine. This turned out to be the most fun, funniest, and difficult part of the shoot. I needed to get images of the raven in a variety of flights and scenarios. As luck would have it, the first 5 or 6 shots of the raven in flight…I managed to catch at the EXACT same position. lol. I was actively trying to capture her at different points of flight, but kept managing to catch the wing position exactly the same each time. Couple that with the fact that all this flying back and forth was getting the raven more and more curious. She kept drinking tea, pooping on my camera case, stealing jewellery… you get the idea! But, in the end I got more than enough images of what I needed. It just took a little work. After that, we cleaned up the poop from the background floor and did a few shots on Andrea and Cristina together and on their own. Job done! 😀
Here is the finished tear sheet of the image as it appeared in Issue 1622 of Kerrang Magazine.
As you can probably tell, in the end we used some of the individual shots of Andrea and Cristina with the raven and the some of the individual shots of the raven to fill space etc. The amazing Sophie at Kerrang put the finished image together, so unfortunately I do not have a non tear sheet version of the image as it appeared in the magazine.
Besides the finished image, there were some other cracking images taken on the day. I have put a couple of my favourites below.
If for some reason you live in a cave and do not know who Lacuna Coil is, you can check them out here.
As always, I try to take a selfie with everyone that I photograph at the end of the shoot. This one was so much fun, we definitely needed one.
Don’t forget that I also have some limited edition prints of Lacuna Coil available here! These are just a couple, and there will be more added soon, hopefully!
This shoot was no different to a lot of my shoots, besides the raven obviously. So I used my Nikon d800e and my 24-70 2.8. Lighting, I used two Elinchrom Quadra Rangers. One shot through a large octobox as the key light, and the other used as a rim light shot through a small octobox. That was it! Kerrang provided the space and the white paper! Thanks Kerrang! 😀